Getting Through Your Divorce and on With Your Life

What to Do When the Insurance Adjuster Tries to Sabotage Your Claim

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What to Do When the Insurance Adjuster Tries to Sabotage Your Claim

Auto-insurance companies love to claim in television commercials that they’re on your side or have your back, but the truth is, their primary focus will always be on their profit margins. Most insurance adjusters operate in an ethical manner, but there are some who will do things to sabotage your case to avoid paying for damages and losses sustained in an accident. Here’s how to recognize when this may be happening to you and what you can do about it. Lack of Communication One tactic some insurance adjusters use is to take a long time to communicate with you or avoid doing so at all. This can take the form of Avoiding your calls Not returning phone calls Not sending out required forms Failing to notify you of important decisions This lack of communication usually taps into an overarching stalling strategy that may include making unreasonable demands such as requiring you to send unnecessary documents, waiting until the last minute to file required paperwork, or requiring needless legal procedures (e.g., asking for a meeting with a mediator for no valid reason). The purpose of these tactics is to frustrate you so much you’ll eventually abandon the case. Alternatively, and more concerning, the insurance adjuster may be attempting to run down the clock on the statute of limitations. Each state limits the amount of time you have to file a personal-injury lawsuit. Most states set the time limit for at least two or three years after the date of the incident. In some states, such as Kentucky and Louisiana, you only have one year to file a case, however. Once that time has passed, you cannot bring legal action against the other party. If you feel the agent is giving you the runaround, there are a couple of things you can do. Look at your policy for communication deadlines. If the agent is failing to meet those deadlines, tell the person directly and quote the passage. This will put the person on notice that you’re well aware of what your rights are and also aware that he or she is not performing as required, and that may be the kick in the pants the person needs to act in a professional manner. Another option is to talk to a supervisor, ask that your case be given to another adjuster, and give reasons why you want this. If the insurance company itself is reputable, the supervisor will likely take your complaint seriously and try to work things out. At the very least, the insurance adjuster will know you mean business, and that may also force him or her to do better. If the statute of limitations deadline is fast approaching, notify the adjuster that you intend to file a lawsuit against the company. Set a deadline for your case to be resolved and then file suit if the adjuster fails to comply. Defending against a lawsuit costs the insurance company money, something they want to avoid. Therefore, the adjuster will likely scramble to avoid that outcome. Lying About Your Policy Insurance adjusters know not everyone actually reads their insurance policies. The person may bank on this fact and state your policy says things that it actually doesn’t. The worst thing that can happen is for you believe the person and settle...

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Can You Get Disability Benefits For Your Anxiety Disorder?

Posted by on Jul 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Can You Get Disability Benefits For Your Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders are very common, affecting approximately 18% of the American population. While just about everyone suffers from short-term anxiety over stressful events, those with anxiety disorders suffer symptoms that interfere with their daily lives. In some cases, people with severe anxiety are unable to work; these sufferers might be entitled to disability benefits. A disability attorney can tell you whether you have a case that might result in disability payouts. In the meantime, here are some ways to determine whether you may be eligible for disability benefits. Very Severe Symptoms People with anxiety might experience symptoms such as disrupted sleep, a pounding heart, a constant state of worry or intrusive thought. Many times, medication and/or cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients overcome these problems and live a normal life. In some cases, however, symptoms might be so severe that the routines of daily life become impossible. If your anxiety symptoms are so severe that you cannot do things like get yourself ready for work, interact with people, sleep or concentrate on the daily tasks that you need to do, you might be eligible for short- or long-term disability benefits until you can complete the treatment you need to start feeling better and performing the tasks that you need to accomplish to get yourself to work. Documented Medical Need In some cases, anxiety must be present for a specific period of time in order to qualify for a diagnosis. For example, generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is defined as symptoms lasting six months or more. If you are having severe anxiety symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor promptly so they can be documented. If the symptoms clear up in a few weeks or a few months, you will not receive the diagnosis of GAD. On the other hand, if they last for many months, years or even longer, it’s important for your healthcare provider to be aware of that so the correct treatment can begin. Mental RFC Results If you have not been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder but still want to seek disability, you may need to have a “residual functional capacity,” or RFC, evaluation done. The purpose of this evaluation is to find out which areas of your life are impacted by your condition. If you are not found to be lacking the function to perform in any of the areas evaluated, you will most likely not qualify for disability benefits. The four areas that are evaluated are: Understanding and memory when given instructions Social interactions with others Concentration and persistence when asked to carry out a task Ability to adapt when asked to do a task The Social Security Administration will look at your doctor’s notes, as well as your non-medical history, such as your work history, reports from people who know you well, and your current hobbies and activities. If you are able to perform well in some of the sections, you might be asked to look for a job that will allow you to exercise these skills, even if you aren’t able to perform the jobs you’ve had in the past. Anxiety is a trying condition, and it might wax and wane throughout your life. Sometimes patients suffer from extreme anxiety for a period of time, then are able to function normally...

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Launching a New Food Product, Medical Device, or Beauty Product? Get Answers to the Questions You May Have about an FDA Attorney

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Launching a New Food Product, Medical Device, or Beauty Product? Get Answers to the Questions You May Have about an FDA Attorney

If you are launching a new food product, drug, or medical device, you are required to fill out a United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, registration and be approved. If you are launching a beauty product, registration is voluntary but recommended. If you have never filled out an FDA registration before, you may be considering working with an FDA attorney. As you think about the process, you may find yourself with many questions. Getting answers to the questions you have will help you to better understand the process and how an FDA attorney can be beneficial to you. Here are a few frequently asked questions you may have about FDA registration and an FDA attorney. Do You Need to Use an Attorney When Filing an FDA Registration? No, you are not required to use an attorney to fill out and complete the FDA registration process. You are able to complete the process on your own, if you so choose. However, there are many benefits to using an attorney, especially if you have never gone through the process before. What Are the Benefits to Using an FDA Attorney for an FDA Registration? There are many different benefits to using an FDA attorney to complete the FDA registration process when you are launching a new product that requires it. One of the biggest benefits is that an attorney with experience in this field knows what information needs to be submitted. Depending on the type of product, you may need to have a facility registration for both your company and any other companies that have manufactured or produced food or drugs that you intend to use or sell as part of your product line. In other instances, particularly when it comes to drugs, the drugs themselves must undergo the registration process as well as the facility that they are being manufactured in. An attorney knows what information you need to have based on the type of product you are manufacturing and selling. This can help you get your product approved faster and get you on your way to making a profit. The other benefit to using an FDA attorney to complete the registration process is that you’ll know everything is properly handled and taken care of. When you attempt to file on your own, you may not include all of your facilities, products, or manufacturing information, due to a simple mistake or oversight or because you didn’t know the rules. Unfortunately, failing to provide or renew this information can lead to your registration being canceled or a civil or criminal action being brought against you in federal court due to your failure to abide by the strict laws set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. Using an attorney ensures everything is done properly so you don’t face these issues. What Should One Look for When Hiring an FDA Attorney? If you have never worked with an FDA attorney before, you may be unsure what you should look for when hiring one. One of the factors to consider is what field the attorney specializes in. The FDA registration process is different for food, drug, and beauty products. Because of this, many attorneys specialize in just one of these fields. Finding an attorney who is experienced in the field you are...

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How Your Use Of Social Media Sites Can Affect Your Workers Compensation Claim

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Your Use Of Social Media Sites Can Affect Your Workers Compensation Claim

If you have been injured on the job, you will want to file a workers compensation claim. When you do so, your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier will pay for your medical expenses and pay you for any time you were unable to work because of your injuries. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may also be entitled to a settlement. The amount of the settlement is based on how much your future medical expenses related to the injury will be, any permanent injuries you sustained, and how your injuries have impacted your ability to perform your current job. Once you file a claim, many workers compensation lawyers advise you to stay off of social media, or at the very least, be cautious what you are putting out there. This is because what you post on social media sites can affect your claim. Here are a few ways your use of these sites can impact your workers compensation claims. Discrediting the Limitations Your Doctor Has Placed You Under If you were injured on the job, your doctor may place limitations on you. This may include not lifting over a certain number of pounds, not standing for more than a certain number of minutes per hour, or not being able to engage in strenuous physical activity. If your employer is unable to accommodate these restrictions, and you can’t perform your normal job because of them, the insurance company has to pay you for remaining off of work. However, while you are off of work, you may feel great one day and help your brother move. If you or your brother post about it on social media, and the insurance company sees that you are lifting when your doctor has placed a limitation on you, the insurance company may be able to discredit the limitations your doctor has placed you under. This can jeopardize your benefits. Discrediting the Information You Provide During the course of your workers compensation claim, a doctor will ask you specific questions about your injuries and how they impact your day-to-day life. Based on this information, a doctor will ultimately issue a final report, when you have healed, listing all of the ways your injury impedes on your ability to function as you normally have. This report is then used to determine the value of your claim when it comes time to settle. However, if you have been posting about your day-to-day activities on social media, your workers compensation adjuster may be able to discredit some of the claims you have made. This can have a negative impact on the amount your claim ultimately settles for. Revealing Other Sources For Your Injuries The last way the use of social media sites can affect your workers compensation claim is by helping an insurance company reveal other sources for your injuries. For example, if you are involved in a car accident and post about it on social media, your workers compensation adjuster may try to pin some responsibilities for your injuries on the accident. They can say that the accident was the cause of your injuries, if the accident occurred prior to your work-related accident, or they may try to say that the accident worsened your injuries if it happened after your work-related accident. If the accident...

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Four Mistakes To Avoid When You File An ERISA Disability Claim

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Mistakes To Avoid When You File An ERISA Disability Claim

Filing a claim for disability benefits is a serious matter. You need to make sure that your employer-provided health plan compensates you fairly so you do not suffer financial hardship or fail to obtain quality medical care when faced with a disability. The process of a filing a claim can be tedious, with unexpected twists and turns. A minor error in your paperwork can lead to a delayed or denied claim. If you want to ensure that you receive adequate compensation, avoid the following missteps when you need to file for disability benefits. Underestimate the Complicated Nature of Claims The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, known as ERISA, sets the standards for disability benefits. Initially passed in 1974, several amendments have been added to the law that expand benefits for certain types of claims. Even if you are very familiar with the fine print of your health plan’s benefits, there are many rules in ERISA that you must follow in order to file a successful claim. It is more complicated than filling out a few forms provided by your company’s human resources department and insurance provider. If you need help understanding the process, do not rely on the advice of friends and family who feel they know what you should do because they have filed a claim in the past with success. Even if their medical situation is similar to yours, there are too many factors at play, such as the effect of recent amendments to ERISA, to make an accurate comparison. Attempt to File a Claim Without Legal Assistance As soon as you realize that you will be unable to work for an extended period and need to file a disability claim, you need to contact an attorney with expertise in ERISA law. Moreover, outside of informing your employer that you plan to file a claim, you should not offer any more information to them until you have consulted with a lawyer. Do not discuss your claim with your human resources department or your company’s insurer. Do not take up any offer by the insurance company’s claims representatives or lawyers to assist in helping you fill out paperwork. Their objective is to help the insurance company pay out as little as possible. Your attorney will provide expert assistance to help you fill out your claim application, conduct background research, help you gather necessary documentation such as pertinent medical records and if necessary, negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company responsible for granting your benefits. If the insurance company acts in bad faith and commits violations, your lawyer can report them to the proper authorities and advocate on your behalf. You should be wary of the following insurance company tactics: Delaying payments Failing to pay out the full value of a claim Not abiding by the terms of your health coverage plan Refusing to negotiate Ignore Medical Directives It is imperative to follow your doctor’s orders, not only to stay healthy, but to avoid putting your disability claim in jeopardy. When an insurance company is determining whether or not to pay out a claim or continue offering you benefits, they will monitor your activity. You may have to submit an activity log to the insurance company to assure them that you are following your doctor’s orders. Some...

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DWI Defenses: 3 Ways To Challenge A DRE Protocol For Drugs

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on DWI Defenses: 3 Ways To Challenge A DRE Protocol For Drugs

If you got pulled over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) protocol may be used to determine whether you are under the influence of any drugs. The DRE protocol is a 12-step process where the officer will examine some of your physiological states to determine whether there is a possibility that you are under the influence. Even though the results of the DRE protocol is admissible in court, there are many vulnerabilities to this type of evidence. Your DWI attorney may recommend that you challenge the accuracy and even the admissibility of the results in these 3 ways. Challenge the Officer’s Administration or Interpretation of the DRE Protocol As the officers that perform the examinations may not have any medical experience or knowledge, their training may be insufficient for them to come to a conclusion regarding whether you were under the influence or not. One of the first things that your DWI attorney will look at is whether proper protocol was followed. Any deviations from the protocol can significantly alter or affect the conclusion. This includes not only whether the proper steps were followed, but also whether the examinations were properly administered. The arresting officer will need to file paperwork regarding how the examinations were performed and their interpretation of the results. From this paperwork, a DWI attorney can determine whether there are other possible conclusions that could be derived from the results and whether the interpretations are inaccurate. The attorney will also look at whether the examinations were performed properly. For example, your attorney may look at whether the equipment were properly calibrated prior to the examination. Prove Symptoms Are Normal for Your Physiology The DRE protocol makes a conclusion based on all of your physiological states. In particular, some conditions that the DRE officer will look at include your vital signs and your muscle tone. For example, methamphetamine causes poor muscle tone, rapid pulse and a higher heart rate. Different types of drugs affect one’s physiological states differently. While this is true, the officer may mistake your normal physiological state for something abnormal. The officer may believe that you have a higher heart rate than normal, but the recorded heart rate may be normal for you. As your attorney will have access to the results of the examination, he or she will be able to help you determine whether the symptoms that the officer considered to be abnormal are normal for you. Witness testimony from a medical expert and medical reports can disprove any claims that an officer may have made regarding abnormal physiological states that they believe to have witnessed. Show Evidence of Alternative Medical, Mental and Physical Conditions You might have been charged with a DWI because an officer came to a false conclusion based on what he or she may have perceived to be abnormal driving. For example, you might not have broken any traffic laws, but you might have been pulled over because the officer observed minor swerving. The minor serving may have been due to medical, mental and physical conditions. In short, you were not driving while intoxicated or under the influence of any type of drugs. If this is the case, evidence of alternative medical, mental or physical conditions that might have led to...

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When Being Declared Dead By Mistake Leads To Actual Death

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Being Declared Dead By Mistake Leads To Actual Death

Death by being declared dead seems like an oxymoronic statement. Unfortunately, there have been cases over the years of people being mistakenly declared dead by medical staff when they were still actually alive and later dying due to inadequate medical care or other reasons. While it’s possible to sue for damages related to such an event, doing so can be challenging. Here are a couple of things you need to consider before litigating this type of case in court. Death by Definition One of the criteria for prevailing in this type of personal injury case is you must prove the injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, this typically means showing the level of care provided by the medical staff did not meet the standard required in his or her field. For instance, if the doctor declared someone deceased without examining the individual when the industry standard requires medical staff to perform certain actions to confirm death has occurred, a case could be made that the healthcare provider deviated from the medical standard of care and is liable for any damages that result. One challenge you’ll face is determining whether the healthcare provider’s declaration of death meets the standard of care. This can be a little difficult, though, because the definition of death isn’t as concrete in the medical world as one would think. Technically, death is defined as the cessation of all vital bodily functions. However, a person who sustains severe and irreversible brain damage may be declared deceased even though the individual is still breathing and has a heartbeat. This is called brain death because, unlike the heart, the brain cannot be resuscitated once it has sustained extensive and irreparable damage. A person may also be declared dead if he or she ceases to respond to lifesaving measures after a period of time. For example, emergency responders may declare a heart attack patient has died if the heart fails to restart after performing CPR for a period of time. This is because the heart is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to brain, and the brain begins to die after six minutes when it’s deprived of this vital substance. So while you may think death means the complete absence of life, the medical professional may be working under a different definition that is considered valid in the healthcare industry and court system. You would need to show that the medical professional based the diagnosis on an erroneous definition of death or the healthcare provider misread the patient’s vital signs (e.g. declared the patient brain dead when there was neurological activity). Simulated Death Another issue that may come up is there are some conditions that emulate death; that is, they only make the person appear to be medically dead. For instance, severe hypothermia can cause a person’s vital signs to drop so low as to make them appear to be non-existent to the naked eye. A similar condition called mammalian dive reflex occurs when people go into a catatonic state after being in cold water for a long period of time, which can also make the individual appear deceased. People who suffer from narcolepsy cataplexy can also be mistakenly declared dead. Narcolepsy is a condition where a person experiences extreme drowsiness and sometimes spontaneously...

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What To Do If The Moving Employees Injure You During The Relocation

Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Do If The Moving Employees Injure You During The Relocation

Hiring professional movers is a good way to alleviate some of the stress of relocating from one home to another. Still, it’s not unusual for things to go awry during the moving process. One of the issues you may have to contend with is being injured by the moving professionals. Here’s what you need to do in this situation. Document the Injury As Soon As Possible First, immediately notify the moving professionals about the injury. You have a greater chance of getting the employees’ unfiltered statement before they call the office and get an official story that may leave the company room to avoid paying you for the accident. If the movers have already left your home, call the company to report the problem. Second, seek medical treatment for the injury as soon as possible, especially if it’s a head injury. Sometimes an injury, like a concussion, can seem mild but actually be very serious. Additionally, the doctor will document your injury, its severity, and the treatments required to heal the problem. This information is critical to ensuring you’re fairly compensated for your injuries. Last, be certain to document your injuries by taking pictures. Use your phone to record the movers’ statements about what happened, or write down what they say. Presenting this evidence to the moving company may make it easier for you to recoup the cost of your medical bills and other losses. Request the Company’s Insurance Information Many moving companies offer insurance that reimburses you if your belongings are broken or lost during the move. While this type of insurance is excellent for guarding against financial losses caused by the movers, it generally only covers damages to your things and typically doesn’t extend to harm done to you. However, you should review the policy anyway to determine if there are provisions for physical injuries and the steps you need to take to file a claim. More often than not, you’ll need to file a claim with the company’s general liability insurance provider. However, not all companies have this insurance, and not all states require movers to carry it. Some only have insurance that covers the cargo and vehicle, which generally won’t cover injuries to customers. Ask the company about the type of insurance they have and the claims process. Alternatively, you can visit the U.S. Department of Transportation licensing and insurance website to lookup whether the company is covered. Estimate Your Costs and Losses If the company doesn’t have the right type of insurance to cover payment for the accident, you may be able to recoup some losses by filing a claim with your homeowner’s insurance. If this option is not available, you’ll need to send the company a demand letter for payment for your injuries. Determining how much to ask for can be tricky. Start with your actual out-of-pocket costs such as your medical bills, medication costs, and time lost from work. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be able to also ask for pain and suffering for the discomfort the injury causes you and any associated side effects. To calculate the amount to ask for, use a multiplier. Most insurance companies multiply your actual damages with a number ranging from 1.5 to 5 to calculate the amount of pain and suffering...

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Facing Foreclosure? You Might Be Able To Avoid It

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Facing Foreclosure? You Might Be Able To Avoid It

As a homeowner, your blood might run cold at the thought of the bank foreclosing on your house. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for over 100,000 homeowners each month in the United States. If you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments, there are ways that you can halt foreclosure proceedings while you pursue other options. Take a look at these methods of potentially avoiding foreclosure. Loan Modification Most homeowners who want to stay in their homes should explore the option of having their loans modified. Call the lender and explain your situation. If certain criteria apply, the lender can permanently change the terms of your loan to make it more likely that you’ll be able to keep up with your new payments. These criteria include having experienced a loss of income, your ability to make the proposed new payments and what the home is currently worth. A loan modification will usually extend your mortgage; you’ll have another thirtyyears to pay it off, just like you would if you were refinancing a 30-year loan. An attorney can help you go through the documents so you understand what you’re signing, but in most cases, is not strictly necessary. Many homeowners can work through this process on their own with their lender. File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy If you have debts in addition to your home that you are having trouble paying off, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to settle some of the debts, wipe off others, and, most importantly, stop any foreclosure proceedings so you can stay in your home. Chapter 13 requires a payment plan proposal; you will need to show that you will have the income necessary to make payments on your home, any back child support you may owe and back taxes over the next three to five years. Filing for Chapter 13 stops foreclosure proceedings in its tracks; you also won’t have your other debtors contacting you after you file. It requires the services of a bankruptcy attorney. Because the payment plans last up to five years, you’ll need to get a judge’s permission to take out new loans during that time period. This is a great option for someone who does not intend to take on more debt for several years. Pursue a Short Sale If you are not planning on staying in your home, but it’s not worth enough to sell and pay back the bank, a short sale is an option that can help you avoid the credit-damaging effects of a foreclosure. A short sale is when a homeowner sells the house for less money than is owed the bank. The money that does come in is handed over to the bank, and the bank agrees to write off the remainder. Although a short sale will show up on your credit report and make it difficult to buy another house for two to three years, it’s not as damaging as a foreclosure or a bankruptcy would be. One caveat is that you do need to show a reason for the bank to accept the short sale. Some acceptable reasons might be that your income has dropped, you have large medical bills or you have recently gotten divorced. Another consideration to keep in mind is that in some cases, you will need...

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2 Things To Know About Your Creditors When Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Things To Know About Your Creditors When Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a great idea if you really need a fresh start financially. Chapter 7 offers a variety of benefits, including the ability to get your debts discharged. When you file, your lawyer will explain the process to you. This explanation will probably include these two factors relating to your creditors. An Automatic Stay Will Kick In When You File One of the huge benefits you will receive as soon as your attorney files your bankruptcy papers is something called an automatic stay. An automatic stay is a legal tool that prohibits creditors from contacting you during bankruptcy proceedings. This tool is not something your lawyer must request; it just automatically occurs as soon as the documents are filed. It may take a few days for this to occur though. After your lawyer files your paperwork, the bankruptcy court will receive it and must have time to notify your creditors about this. Once they are notified, they will not be allowed to call you, send you letters, or communicate with you in any other way. The automatic stay does not only stop your creditors from contacting you, but it also offers another huge benefit. An automatic stay forces your creditors to stop all actions against you. If your mortgage lender is in the process of foreclosing on your house, this process will stop. If your car is about to get repossessed, your car lender must stop this process. It can also stop things such as the following: Evictions – If you rent your house, your landlord will not be able to evict you at this time. Utility disconnections – If you are past due on your utility payments, it may put a stop to the utility companies disconnecting your services for a limited amount of time. Wage garnishments – In addition, when you file for bankruptcy, any wage garnishments you are currently experiencing will stop. This can even include IRS wage garnishments for back taxes owed. An automatic stay is quite helpful when creditors are harassing you for money, and it will probably bring you some relief once you file. Your Creditors Have The Right To Object The second thing you should know is that your creditors are required to stop contacting you; however, they also have the right to object to the discharge of the debt you owe. When the bankruptcy trustee notifies your creditors of your bankruptcy filing, creditors will have a certain amount of time to object. They can do this by attending the meeting of the creditors, which takes place between 21 to 40 days after you file. Another way they can object is by writing a complaint letter to the trustee. There are several common reasons creditors will object, which include: Frivolous spending – If you went shopping and spent $500 on clothing and things you really did not need shortly before you filed, the credit card company might object to discharging this debt. Cash advances – Credit card companies can also object if you took a cash advance from the card within 70 days before you filed. Fraud – If you committed some type of fraud and your creditor suspects or knows about this, the creditor might also decide to object to your discharge of this debt. If...

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